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Has Weed Gotten Stronger Since the 1980s?

by Julie

Has Weed Gotten Stronger Since the 1980s?

While growing autoflower seeds, you may wonder how different today’s marijuana is from weed from the 80s. It may be a random thought, but it’s actually an excellent question.

Many things have changed since the 80s. Sodas have less sugar, fast food has fewer calories, and milk doesn’t always come from cows anymore.

80s Bangs- Will You Try Them Today?
80s Bangs- Will You Try Them Today?

So, how has weed been modified? Read on to find out.

What did weed look like in the 80s?

Marijuana growers know the way the final product looks largely depends on two factors: genetics and cultivation techniques. What did weed look like in the 80s?

The buds back then were often packed with seeds and less closely trimmed. It was a mission to clean them, and you ended up wasting a lot.

Many cultivators used outdoor or guerilla growing, so buds were airier as breeders left plants to nature’s will. Nugs also appeared darker and sometimes slightly burned from the sun.

Feminized seeds only became available at the end of the 80s, and autoflowers after the 90s, so growing cannabis was a lot more challenging. Often it was pointless putting a lot of effort into plants only to end up with males.

The buds also seemed dryer than what we’re used to now. Growers would cure them outside or leave them for too long as demand wasn’t as high.

Towards the end of the decade, feminized seeds, grow lights, and various cultivation techniques came into play, resulting in higher bag quality.

Popular 80s strainsHas Weed Gotten Stronger Since the 1980s?

Many 1980s weed strains formed the backbone of current ones, and some are still as popular today. Here are some famous cultivars from that era:

Skunk #1

The 80s brought us many things that’ll never die out: dance music, acid-wash jeans, and Skunk #1. This indica-dominant hybrid is known for packing a powerful punch. It was one of the most straightforward strains to grow on the market at the time.

It has a distinct old-school dank smell reminiscent of weed from the 80s. It’s a common scent in many modern cultivars, as Skunk #1 is a popular parent strain with hardy genes and high THC levels.

Colombian Gold

Discovered in the 80s, Santa Marta Colombian Gold is a psychedelic strain that lights you up and energizes you. It’s a 100% natural sativa that’s highly tolerant of the long sunlight hours common in South America.

Growing this strain is easy, and it’s the perfect height for indoor cultivation in a room or tent. It has the pungent aroma of skunk with a hint of lemon. The effects are powerful and uplifting, and it’s known for its electrifying psychedelic buzz.

Northern Lights

Just like the aurora borealis, this strain continues to illuminate people’s lives with its euphoric full-body melt. Northern Lights had a reputation for being a good-time weed in the 80s.

It grows fast, delivers mountains of buds, and is covered in glistening trichomes. The aroma of the flowers is piney, sweet, and warm, making this toke a treat for the senses. The plants have huge colas that may be prone to bending, but if cared for, they carry monster buds.

How has weed changed since the 80s?

Aside from appearance, weed strains from the 80s have changed in many ways. We now have a variety of over 700 cultivars, most of which are derivatives of the classics like Skunk #1.

In the 80s, only a few strains were available in America, and people relied on imports to try different cultivars. A substantial amount of the weed was of poor quality due to a lack of growing techniques. The dry bud consisted of lots of leaves and seeds, lowering the potency.

This era was a time for innovation, from costume ideas to agricultural advancements. Towards the end of the 80s, hydroponic systems came into play.

This technology allowed people to grow cannabis seeds discreetly in their homes. It slowed the imports of weed and delivered fresher, higher-quality buds.

One signal of the superior weed that grew in that era was the Cannabis Cup. High Times editor Steven Hager launched it in the late 80s. This prize-giving ceremony is now the gold standard for superior marijuana strains.

Is weed stronger now?

Has Weed Gotten Stronger Since the 1980s?

The time has come to answer the golden question: is today’s marijuana stronger than 80s weed? The answer is a resounding “yes.”

Cannabis is three times more potent than 20–30 years ago. Why did the levels jump that much?

Advanced growing techniques like low-stress training, optimal indoor lighting, and powerful greenhouse-style LEDs helped increase potency.

However, even the most talented cultivator and well-equipped grow room can’t turn low THC seeds into potent buds.

Newer strains come from high THC seeds that pack elevated amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid.

In the 1980s, THC levels averaged around 4%, but in 2012, marijuana confiscated by police nationwide sat at around 15%.

Nowadays, some strains hit up to 30%, while others range from 20–25%. Current cultivars also tend to have lower levels of CBD, meaning the effects of THC are more pronounced.

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